OUT­STAND­ING VOL­UN­TEER

Recre­ational ther­a­pist Kevin Stairs hon­oured.

Cape Breton Post - - Front Page - jeremy.fraser@cb­post.com

When Kevin Stairs was ap­proached to or­ga­nize the an­nual big bike fundraiser at Har­bour View Hospi­tal in Syd­ney Mines, he didn’t ex­pect any recog­ni­tion.

“We started do­ing it be­cause it felt good and it was a re­ally nice team ef­fort,” said Stairs. “When all of our co-work­ers are on the bike and ev­ery­one is laugh­ing, it doesn’t feel like it’s some­thing you’re putting a whole lot of ef­fort into.”

Stairs has been or­ga­niz­ing the event in the Syd­ney Mines com­mu­nity for the past seven years. His hard work and ded­i­ca­tion was re­cently rec­og­nized with the Heart and Stroke Foun­da­tion out­stand­ing vol­un­teer award.

Stairs was pre­sented the award by Nova Sco­tia Lieu­tenant Gover­nor J.J. Grant dur­ing a cer­e­mony in late April in Hal­i­fax.

“I was very sur­prised,” said Stairs when asked his first re­ac­tion to the news. “Typ­i­cally you don’t vol­un­teer for any recog­ni­tion. It was re­ally nice, I’m proud of what we’ve done over the past seven years and we fully plan to con­tinue do­ing it.”

Stairs, orig­i­nally from Prince Ed­ward Is­land, has been work­ing as a recre­ational ther­a­pist at Har­bour View Hospi­tal for the past nine years. He grad­u­ated from Dal­houise Univer­sity in 1996. He later

moved to Florida, where he worked in a brain in­jury fa­cil­ity for three years, prior to mov­ing to Cape Bre­ton, where he lives with his wife, daugh­ter and son.

When Stairs was asked to be the team cap­tain — oth­er­wise known as the or­ga­nizer — for the Syd­ney Mines event, the de­ci­sion was easy.

“It goes hand-and-hand with our hospi­tal be­cause we have a re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion part of the hospi­tal that I work in and a num­ber of pa­tients that come here have been af­fected by stroke,” said Stairs. “For us to par­tic­i­pate in Heart and Stroke is a re­ally easy sell for me.”

The Heart and Stroke Foun­da­tion big bike fundraiser takes place across the prov­ince. The big bike is a team event geared to­wards com­pa­nies, com­mu­nity or­ga­ni­za­tions and groups. Teams are made up of 29 en­thu­si­as­tic rid­ers who each com­mit to raise $50 or more

to sup­port heart dis­ease and stroke re­search.

“It’s a lot eas­ier to get peo­ple to par­tic­i­pate now than it was the first sev­eral years,” laughed Stairs. “Peo­ple would tell me they couldn’t ride a bike or that they haven’t driven a bike in 20 or 30 years, but I would tell them it’s the size of a hay­wagon and it has four wheels, you can’t fall off.”

Over the past seven years, the Har­bour View Hospi­tal team

has raised $20,000 through the big bike event for the foun­da­tion.

“We’re pretty proud of what we have done for such a small lit­tle build­ing,” said Stairs. “Work­ing at the hospi­tal, I have seen how heart dis­ease and stroke af­fects peo­ple, so it was hard not to get in­volved in the fundraiser, which we feel is re­ally im­por­tant.”

Although it’s still a cou­ple of months away, Stairs said the staff at the hospi­tal is look­ing for­ward to the fundraiser.

The date for the event is un­known at this time, but it’s ex­pected to take place some­time in July.

Fol­low­ing this year’s event, the group plans to im­me­di­ately reg­is­ter for the 2018 big bike event, in or­der to con­tinue show­ing their sup­port for the Heart and Stroke Foun­da­tion.

Peo­ple would tell me they couldn't ride a bike or that they haven't driven a bike in 20 or 30 years, but I would tell them it's the size of a hay-wagon and it has four wheels, you cant fall off"

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Kevin Stairs, right, of Bras d’Or, is shown re­ceiv­ing his Heart and Stroke Foun­da­tion out­stand­ing vol­un­teer award from J.J. Grant, Lieu­tenant Gover­nor of Nova Sco­tia. Stairs re­ceived the award for his work with the foun­da­tion’s big bike fundraiser in Syd­ney Mines.

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